Listen to Morning Ireland Extra: Brendan Grace

Carla Harmon
July 12, 2019

No, the song wasn't written by The Wurzels, who had a huge United Kingdom hit with it in 1976, but by Irish comedian Brendan Grace, who went to Number One in Ireland a year earlier with the rustic version of Melanie's Brand New Key.

According to RTE, he died in the early hours of this morning.

A year ago he was forced to cancel his regular summer tour after his diagnosis of lung cancer while in hospital being treated for pneumonia.

More recently, he reached a whole new audience as the confrontational, jungle music loving Father Fintan Stack in Father Ted.

As well as acting, Brendan was also a singer and he topped the Irish charts with his hit "Combine Harvester" one year before The Wurzels made the song even more famous when they had a United Kingdom number one with their version in 1976.

The Dublin-born entertainer passed away aged 68 yesterday, July 10, from a short illness. "He gave a performance every night that merited the applause he received".

Irish premier Leo Varadkar also paid tribute, describing Grace as "one of the greats".

Irish comedian Brendan Grace has died.

Kelly said: "Sinatra fell around the place laughing at him".

LORD Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe will open a Book of Condolence for Dubliners to pay their respects to much loved Dublin Comedian Brendan Grace RIP.

In later years he divided his time between Ireland and the US. "I've never seen somebody to face such a frightful prognosis with his own name that he was born with, he faced it with grace and dignity and bravery".

He added on Twitter: "Brendan's sense of humor was drawing from, and itself a profound contribution to, the deep wellspring of Irish wit".

He continued: "His best-loved characters will endure, precisely because they are both recognisable and representative of the experiences lived and recalled by Irish people of all ages".

Grace was a resident of West Palm Beach, Fla., with his wife Eileen, but was working in Ireland when he became ill.

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